Blasts kill three as BD commandos storm militant hideout

Dhaka

At least three people were killed and 30 wounded Saturday in two explosions in Bangladesh’s northeastern city of Sylhet where army commandos stormed a militant hideout, police and hospital staff said.
Two “powerful” blasts went off some 400 yards from the hideout, targeting a huge crowd of people and police officials who were witnessing the commando operation, police said.
“At least three people including a policeman were killed,” Sylhet police spokesman Zedan Al Musa told AFP.
More than 30 people were wounded including several army, police and elite security officers, Sylhet Medical College Hospital emergency medical officer Atiqul Islam told AFP.
Police have not blamed any group for the blasts, which occurred as commandos engaged in a day-long gun-fight with suspected militants holed up in a five-storey building.
The commandos backed by armoured personnel carriers launched the operation after a more than 30-hour standoff that began early Friday morning when police sealed off the place after suspected militants detonated small bombs.
Armed forces spokesman Col Rashidul Hasan said earlier that 78 people who were trapped in the building for more than a day were rescued by the commandos.
“They are Islamist extremists,” police spokesman Musa said. Police used loudspeakers to ask the militants to surrender, but they refused to give up, Musa said.
The raid came after a series of suicide attacks on security camps by militants this month including one at a police checkpoint near the country’s main international airport on Friday night. — AFP

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